14 June 2008

It's NO again...

Dear readers,

So that's it! The Irish have voted against the Lisbon Treaty, the text of which should have replaced the defunct EU Constitution (that they had previously approved). The text of the treaty was more or less similar to the Constitution, only the non institutional aspects and the state symbols had been stripped from it. This was to take into account what the Dutch and French has said they didn't like (or at least what politicians had said they didn't like). All these efforts have been in vain. Obviously, the situation changed between the two series of ratification and the Irish have voted against elements completely different from the French and the Dutch ("the constitution was [supposedly] too pro-business and not social enough"). The Irish are afraid of the supposedly (again) attack against their sacrosanct neutrality, and more generally of getting their voice diluted in the new system.

The fact that both reasons (the previous ones and the current ones) are totally imaginary is irrelevant. People rarely vote for rational reasons. Mostly they vote "with their guts", for the guy who is more eloquent or demagogic (thanks to the Sin Fein...) or simply because they are angry or happy. It does not matter much. I can't help feeling betrayed, as an EU tax payer, by the ungratefulness of most Irish people. After all, they have benefited my generosity for so many years, that they could have made the effort to read the treaty and realize that what a handful populist were saying was a big pile of crap. But I am not feeling that bad against them. They have excuses, just like so many others.

Their excuse (and one major flaw of both the Constitution and the treaty) is that these texts have been discussed in closed chambers, by lawyer and specialists and are the result of tit for tat negotiations between politicians who have everything in mind but their fellow citizens interests. So maybe this time, our politicians will understand that they have to consult the people of Europe to ask them what they want. My guess is they would tell them that they want more transparency in Brussels like in the various capitals, more accountability from the politicians at all level and more democratic decisions. But of course, instead of this, they will continue the blame game: taking credit for all the good things (mostly discussed in Brussels) and blaming Europe for their own failures. I would also hope that this time, they try to create a simple text, easy to explain in layman's terms to everyone. But I know that the Danish, English and other Polish politicians will add a dozen of opt out and conditions so that the text become unreadable again and making sure it is (again rejected).

Fair enough, we have the politicians we deserve. But frankly, sometimes I despair from both the politicians and my fellow citizens... Who is the most ignorant or stupid is not always easy to find out.